From The New York Times to a comic on sex, illustrator Kati Szilágyi discusses her recent work
- Jyni Ong
- 11 October 2019
Since we last wrote about Kati Szilágyi over two years ago, the Berlin-based illustrator has been commissioned by the likes of The New York Times, The New Yorker, Zeit, Bloomberg Businessweek and Google, not to mention us over here at It’s Nice That for a feature on the importance of boredom. On this progression, Kati tells It’s Nice That: “I feel much more confident with my work and occupation.” Fully embracing her signature squiggly style, her relationship with art directors has evolved with time and experience, pushing the illustrator to her creative limits with the help of a constructive art director.
“This happened for example with my first magazine cover for the German travel magazine The Weekender,” explains Kati. Developing her commission from the magazine’s inside spreads exploring traffic in Kenya, Kati eventually combined various elements of the illustration to form the final cover. Working in this chop-and-change method for the first time in her career, this process has now become the norm for Kati. “Now, I often combine elements of different sizes,” she says on the matter, “working with interesting characters and pulling together exciting compositions with overlapping objects.”
Pulling together her two favourite styles of drawing – a cutout effect combined with a more illustrative style which is abstract and architectural – Kati has also learnt to gather all of her influences into singular, cohesive compositions. “My ongoing styles now influence each other a lot,” she adds, citing “the geometric versus the free form, or a shape versus its outline” as an example.
It’s a stylistic progression that has developed alongside her maturity as a creative. As she’s grown in confidence, in turn, her work has become looser and more exaggerated. It exudes the effortless conviction of a well-practiced illustrator and has given Kati the opportunity to play around with proportion as a result. “Additionally, I’ve also added swirls, free lines and abstract shapes to my work that has probably come out of a love for comics.”
In other work, Kati has collaborated with “the brilliant” Sarah Illenberger for Hermès, Paris, for last year’s Christmas window installation which saw the illustrator transform her two-dimensional sketches into 3D set design objects for the first time. She worked on a commission in memory of Nobel Prize winning mathematician Max Born for Google Doogle, and, in her spare time, next to the extensive variety of paid commissions, she’s also contributed to Spring Magazine’s latest comics anthology on sex. Contributing a set of atmospheric single sequences depicting “the feeling one has after a good night of sex”, Kati captures that warm, afterglow feeling in her first comic debut.
About the Author
Jyni joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor.